Group-based expert walkthrough

Method suitability

Study type

Field studies
XLab studies
Online studies
Questionnaire

Development phase

Concepts
XEarly prototypes
XFunctional prototypes
Products on market

Studied period of experience

XBefore usage
Snapshots
XAn episode
Long-term UX

Evaluator / Info provider

UX experts
One user at a time
XGroups of users
Pairs of users

Data

XQualitative
Quantitative

Applications

XWeb services
XPC software
XMobile software
Hardware designs
Other:

Requirements

Trained researcher
Special equipment

Summary

It is a scenario based usability inspection method, aiming to identify usability-problems, possible design improvements and successful/good design solutions in a given user interface. The evaluations are conducted as group usability inspections and require no previous training of the evaluators. Thus the method supports evaluators not accustomed to usability inspections. The group-based expert walkthrough is particularly suited for early evaluations of applications specific to a particular work domain. The method is grounded on the assumption that usability-problems and possible design improvements identified by work-domain experts utilized as evaluators had far higher impact on the subsequent development processes than these identified by usability-experts. Combined with other methods, such as probing material it goes beyond the usability aspect and collects UX issues.

Description

The Walkthrough consisted of task scenarios, which are accomplished stepwise by the participants (individually followed by group discussion). The walkthrough is completed with an overall discussion, rating of found problems, suggestions for improvements. As the participants are domain experts they can provide valuabel feedback on the application beyond usability issues, based on their own experiences. Additional probing material can be used to support the participants during the tasks completion and motivate them to identify problems and their favorite features (positive and negative experiences they make while performing the tasks).

Strengths

Easy and cheap method;
Not much training required;
Applicable for different systems;
Can be applied early in the development phase (based on screenshots, paper prototypes);
Real end users are involved: domain experts for the developed application;
Usability problems are covered, but also user experience issues are part of the method due to the discussion parts, probing material. It can be further combined with the focus group method

Weaknesses

Recruitement of the right participants (domain experts) / still a main focus on usability problems

References describing the method

Original Method: Foelstad, A. Group-based Expert Walkthrough. In R³UEMs: Review, Report and Refine Usability Evaluation Methods, edited by Scapin, D. and Law, E., 2007, 58--60. Extended Version with Probing: Obrist, M., Moser, C., Alliez, D., Holocher, T., and Tscheligi, M. 2009. Connecting TV & PC: an in-situ field evaluation of an unified electronic program guide concept. In Proceedings of the Seventh European Conference on European interactive Television Conference (Leuven, Belgium, June 03 - 05, 2009). EuroITV '09. ACM, New York, NY, 91-100.

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